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In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them. In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show the In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them. In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show there is no evidence for their existence. The Invention of Religion, however, investigates the psychological mechanisms that cause religions to originate and it sets out to prove that when humans have neither science nor religion, these mechanisms cause them to invent new religions. It also investigates how the differences (like monotheism vs. pantheism) between religions arise and how probable these differences are.


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In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them. In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show the In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them. In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show there is no evidence for their existence. The Invention of Religion, however, investigates the psychological mechanisms that cause religions to originate and it sets out to prove that when humans have neither science nor religion, these mechanisms cause them to invent new religions. It also investigates how the differences (like monotheism vs. pantheism) between religions arise and how probable these differences are.

30 review for The Invention of Religion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    From what I can tell, Alexander Drake is an independent researcher publishing his work himself. A Google search reveals no professors, scholars, or even journalists by that name. So I find it interesting that his books have become popular. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. In any case, that means this book did not have to go through any peer review process. So I will step in! In some ways, The Invention of Religion is like a modernized (and much shorter) version of James Frazer’s The Go From what I can tell, Alexander Drake is an independent researcher publishing his work himself. A Google search reveals no professors, scholars, or even journalists by that name. So I find it interesting that his books have become popular. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. In any case, that means this book did not have to go through any peer review process. So I will step in! In some ways, The Invention of Religion is like a modernized (and much shorter) version of James Frazer’s The Golden Bough. Both works attempt to explain how misconceptions about the natural world could give rise to rituals and beliefs in supernatural deities. Quoth Frazer: By religion, then, I understand a propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life. Thus defined, religion consists of two elements, a theoretical and a practical, namely, a belief in powers higher than man and an attempt to propitiate or please them. Frazer tackles the question by collating a massive amount of ethnographic information (most of which was inaccurate). Drake does the same by bringing together some suggestive psychological studies. But both authors conclude that religion arises in the absence of scientific knowledge about the universe. Because Drake has access to more interesting and reliable psychological information, his reasoning is more solid. Yet I found both arguments narrow. For one, this fails to take into account something that Emile Durkheim made clear in his book, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life: the importance that religious rituals play in group cohesion. Despite broad similarity, groups living in adjacent areas often find themselves at odds. The playful teasing relationship between Americans and Canadians is a benign example. When discussing Canada, our differences (they’re nicer, we have worse health care) inevitably crop up. But, all things considered, Canadians are the group most similar to Americans. This is something Freud called the "narcissism of small difference.” Just so, religious markers often serve as rallying points for groups. Durkheim uses the example of neighboring tribes in Australia who differentiate themselves with their respective totem animals. (They can’t eat this, we can’t eat that, and so on.) Moreover, Durkheim pointed out that social rituals bring people together, by creating shared emotional experiences. By using his “man on an island” scenario, Drake manages to skirt all social explanations entirely. This brings me to my second major point. Drake’s treatment is reductive to an absurd degree. Religions are complex phenomena. No religion exists in a social vacuum. Religions occupy definite places in the culture and worldview of those who are a part of them. So when you strip all historical and cultural context and create a scenario that never existed, are you even investigating religion anymore? And think, really think, about his methodology. Drake is using psychological studies, primarily conducted on peoples living in developed countries in the twentieth century, and extrapolating those results back to our first ancestors. Leaving aside the doubtless massive differences in culture and lifestyle, it presupposes a scenario which never existed. Humans didn’t just arrive on the scene, ex nihilo. They gradually emerged from an earlier species. They’re cognitive machinery probably developed piecemeal, rather than all at once. Therefore you have to consider the strong possibility that conclusions based on our own psychology won’t apply neatly. My point is that this question will not be answered by drawing on a bunch of studies that every psychology major learns in their intro class. Drake’s thought-experiment is clear and clean; there are no loose ends. But thought-experiments cannot be used to determine empirical questions. At best, they are suggestive. Reality is messy, and religion is one of the most complex of human phenomena. Drake does have a skill that I think is very rare and valuable. He gets straight to his point, with no rhetorical flourishes or pedantic scribbling. His writing is clear, straightforward, and on target. If only he had something more substantial to write about.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yuki

    The Invention of Religion is an investigation into the evolutionary origins of religion. Drake takes us through what almost seems like a mathematical proof (although less confounding) of how religions would have formed in early humans. He uses a “Man on an Island” as an abstract representative for early man—like an unknown in a math equation—and then explores certain psychological phenomena to see how early man would have reacted to certain pressures. The book really goes in depth into the psycho The Invention of Religion is an investigation into the evolutionary origins of religion. Drake takes us through what almost seems like a mathematical proof (although less confounding) of how religions would have formed in early humans. He uses a “Man on an Island” as an abstract representative for early man—like an unknown in a math equation—and then explores certain psychological phenomena to see how early man would have reacted to certain pressures. The book really goes in depth into the psychology of ancient humans and looks at the world through their eyes. Each chapter explores how different aspects of religion (belief in deities, a soul, afterlife, etc.) come to be formed and is backed up by ample research and source citations. And there is also a section exploring how religions evolve over time. One aspect of this book that makes it enjoyable is the fact that it isn’t an attack on religion but an analysis of how religions can be formed. I always feel that books are more pleasurable when they aren’t didactic and it doesn’t seem that the author has a bone to pick. But it is also a very accessible read, because Drake really takes you through every step of logic so that you can tell he has followed the scientific method of reasoning. And, in the end, the author even provides what he humbly calls “partial evidence” which actually seemed very convincing and conclusive to me. On the whole, I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the origins of religion and how they are formed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Briana

    One thing that I really liked about The Invention of Religion was its focus on psychology, since that is really the only way we can "know" early man. Each chapter explores new psychological phenomena to see how early man would have reacted to certain pressures and I felt that I could really see the world through their eyes. Even with its emphasis on psychology, this book delves into other interesting topics like the origins of morality, experiments with prayer, free will, etc. And I really thought One thing that I really liked about The Invention of Religion was its focus on psychology, since that is really the only way we can "know" early man. Each chapter explores new psychological phenomena to see how early man would have reacted to certain pressures and I felt that I could really see the world through their eyes. Even with its emphasis on psychology, this book delves into other interesting topics like the origins of morality, experiments with prayer, free will, etc. And I really thought the book was structured well. I especially liked how each chapter investigated certain psychological phenomena and then tied it all together with the Man on an Island at the end of the chapter. The whole book seemed very logical with sound arguments.

  4. 4 out of 5

    KT

    I really enjoyed The Invention of Religion, because it was very logically written. It is basically an exploration of how religions come to be. It's a really interesting exploration of ancient human psychology. I felt like this was a much more enjoyable read than other books on the same topic because the author wasn't belligerent. The most interesting thing (for me, at least) was that it read almost like a mathematical proof (although less confounding). While reading this book, I could tell that D I really enjoyed The Invention of Religion, because it was very logically written. It is basically an exploration of how religions come to be. It's a really interesting exploration of ancient human psychology. I felt like this was a much more enjoyable read than other books on the same topic because the author wasn't belligerent. The most interesting thing (for me, at least) was that it read almost like a mathematical proof (although less confounding). While reading this book, I could tell that Drake is a very logical thinker. He also makes very concrete definitions, which I liked, and plenty of experiments to back up his ideas. Overall it's a very thought-provoking and accessible read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Book

    The Invention of Religion by Alexander Drake “The Invention of Religion" is a brief, well-referenced, well-argumented book that provides the most likely psychological mechanisms that led to the invention of religion. As the author notes, “In the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion”. This is the perfect introductory-level book for the layperson. The author does a wonderful job of laying down the foundation of his theories and building sound arguments to a satisfying conclusion. Thi The Invention of Religion by Alexander Drake “The Invention of Religion" is a brief, well-referenced, well-argumented book that provides the most likely psychological mechanisms that led to the invention of religion. As the author notes, “In the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion”. This is the perfect introductory-level book for the layperson. The author does a wonderful job of laying down the foundation of his theories and building sound arguments to a satisfying conclusion. This brief 126- page book is composed of the following ten chapters: 1. Introduction, 2. Ritual, 3. Deities, 4. The Soul, 5. The Afterlife, 6. The Evolution of Religion, 7. In Conclusion, 8. The Origins of Morality, 9. The Origins of Life, and 10. In Conclusion. Positives: 1. A well-written and well-researched book. Accessible to the masses. 2. Nice flowing narrative that matches with the supporting arguments of the author. 3. A fascinating topic that the author does justice. 4. Great introductory book that can be read in one sitting. More knowledge for your time. 5. Does a good job of defining the terms and provides very good examples to help the reader comprehend his thesis. The use of “our Man on an island” was effective. 6. The four key aspects of a religion. 7. Great use of psychology, social sciences, biology, neuroscience, and other converging sciences to build up his sound arguments. The author makes references to groundbreaking experiments that support his arguments. 8. The author covers briefly some of the most interesting concepts of religion: rituals, souls, prayers, afterlife, etc… 9. The chapter on the soul was my favorite. 10. Interesting look at the brain. Consciousness and free will. 11. A look at out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs). 12. A look at the just-world hypothesis. 13. Interesting findings throughout. As an example, the relation between mortality salience and punishing the moral transgressor. 14. What most likely led to the evolution of religion. 15. The soul and the afterlife. Bringing these concepts all together. 16. Where did morality come from…great arguments. 17. Great value! Very few books give you so much for so little. 18. Excellent Works Cited section. Negatives: 1. As an avid reader of this genre, a lot of the supporting arguments and experiments came across as old news. Be that as it may, the author does make use of the most popular and compelling experiments. 2. The Kindle version has some minor formatting issues. 3. No links. 4. There are better and more comprehensive books on this genre, what makes this book excellent is that it provides the most concise and lucid arguments that lead to sound conclusions. In summary, the author provides the reader with an interesting theory and proceeds through with a well-organized, scientific-based, logical path to his compelling conclusions. I enjoyed it so much that I did not hesitate to purchase his follow up book, “The Invention of Christianity”. I highly recommend it! Further recommendations: “The Invention of God” by Bill Lauritzen, “Man Made God” by Barbara G. Walker, “Immortality” Stephen Cave, “Who’s in Charge?” by Michael S. Gazzaniga, "The Religion Virus” by James A. Craig, “50 Reasons People Give For Believing in a God” by Guy P. Harrison, “Why We Believe In God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith” by J. Anderson Thomson Jr., “The Believing Brain” by Michael Shermer, “Free Will” by Sam Harris, and “The Invention of the Jewish People” by Shlomo Sand. I have reviewed all these books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Finucane

    A fairly short concise read regarding evidence that religion is nothing more than a human invention. It does a fairly decent job of laying out the evidence, and though some of the evidence has been around for some time, the author puts it together in one place with this book. I found this book to be a good place to start exploring the concept that religion is make believe and should promise to be a good source for further exploration (see the cited works section). I found the section on NDEs and A fairly short concise read regarding evidence that religion is nothing more than a human invention. It does a fairly decent job of laying out the evidence, and though some of the evidence has been around for some time, the author puts it together in one place with this book. I found this book to be a good place to start exploring the concept that religion is make believe and should promise to be a good source for further exploration (see the cited works section). I found the section on NDEs and OBEs quite fascinating as it shows how the experiences described by people can be duplicated in experiments using only known physical stimulation, drugs, or lack of oxygen; this pretty much paints the picture that death is final and what people experience at death is a hallucination.

  7. 4 out of 5

    JM

    I have read many books on atheism, so I didn't really expect to learn anything new when I picked up a copy of The Invention of Religion, but I was pleasantly surprised. Drake proposes many new ideas that I don't think anyone has written about before and seems to make a very good case that religions are just inventions of mankind. It is also a well-organized book and I highly recommended it for anyone who wants more ammo for debates. I have read many books on atheism, so I didn't really expect to learn anything new when I picked up a copy of The Invention of Religion, but I was pleasantly surprised. Drake proposes many new ideas that I don't think anyone has written about before and seems to make a very good case that religions are just inventions of mankind. It is also a well-organized book and I highly recommended it for anyone who wants more ammo for debates.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Freddy

    Excellent! Really gets down to the nuts and bolts of why religions exist.

  9. 5 out of 5

    F.

    This is a great book on the origin and natural evolution of religion in humanity. It's a little bit of Child Psychology, Abnormal Psych, Anthropology, Biology, Evolution, Anatomy and Physiology, and other subjects that I'm sure that I am missing. There is a fantastic bibliography in the back of the book that I am sure I will look through again at some point for reading material. (Probably in a few years when I reread this review.) Thankfully it sticks to science and research and stays away from This is a great book on the origin and natural evolution of religion in humanity. It's a little bit of Child Psychology, Abnormal Psych, Anthropology, Biology, Evolution, Anatomy and Physiology, and other subjects that I'm sure that I am missing. There is a fantastic bibliography in the back of the book that I am sure I will look through again at some point for reading material. (Probably in a few years when I reread this review.) Thankfully it sticks to science and research and stays away from attacking religion which would have discredited the argument enough to have turned people away from it. I would have given it another star had it been another hundred pages and not felt as if it ended too abruptly. I swear there has to be more here and it felt like the writer ended a chapter 2/3 of the way through the book and just never came back to finish it so don't be surprised.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Imran

    The book explains religion and its associated components on the basis of controlled experiments. While such experiments do help to make a systematic study of the subject, I was hoping that there would be more historical evidence for the claims. At one point the author seems to discourage questioning the theory of evolution; a bad precedent by someone who sets out to question religion which like the theory of evolution has a lot dependent on it. Whether the theory of evolution is correct or not The book explains religion and its associated components on the basis of controlled experiments. While such experiments do help to make a systematic study of the subject, I was hoping that there would be more historical evidence for the claims. At one point the author seems to discourage questioning the theory of evolution; a bad precedent by someone who sets out to question religion which like the theory of evolution has a lot dependent on it. Whether the theory of evolution is correct or not should not determine if it can be questioned. Also the book is poorly edited with instances of bad sentence construction, factual errors like DNA being made of proteins. Though the subject of the book is interesting I would look for better books on the subject and would not recommend this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    This is the first book that I’ve come across attempting to explain the origins of religion using science by showing why ancient humans might have invented a religion. The argument draws on many fascinating experiments to explain how certain aspects of religion arise. Most of the experiments I had never come across before, so they are even interesting to read about on their own. The argument is easy to follow since it is broken down into certain “key aspects” of religion, which are then each expl This is the first book that I’ve come across attempting to explain the origins of religion using science by showing why ancient humans might have invented a religion. The argument draws on many fascinating experiments to explain how certain aspects of religion arise. Most of the experiments I had never come across before, so they are even interesting to read about on their own. The argument is easy to follow since it is broken down into certain “key aspects” of religion, which are then each explored separately. And it never attacks religion—the author keeps to the science. On the whole, it introduces some compelling ideas that really make you think.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I had been looking forward to reading this for a long while and I finally got the time this weekend. And I was happy that it was interesting enough to read entirely in one day. I can’t always do that with non-fiction books. The explanations of the “psychological phenomena” are interesting in their own right, but even more so when tied into the whole premise. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. It really encourages you to reconsider things you might have taken for granted.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is probably the best atheist book I’ve read. I’ve read a few by Dawkins, but when you read his books you can just tell that he’s a jerk, so you almost don’t want to agree with him even though you do. Drake is a much more objective writer/thinker.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    A short 'textbook' style read (but not in a boring way). Each chapter is divided up into different reasons proving that all religions are nothing more than a human invention and the reasons why people do that. A short 'textbook' style read (but not in a boring way). Each chapter is divided up into different reasons proving that all religions are nothing more than a human invention and the reasons why people do that.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    This book is brilliant. A real eye-opener. I think I'm gonna read it again. This book is brilliant. A real eye-opener. I think I'm gonna read it again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wilson

    This highly accessible book is filled with those 'fancy thats' that go over good at parties and it answers all the things you'd want to know about the origins of religions. A fascinating book! This highly accessible book is filled with those 'fancy thats' that go over good at parties and it answers all the things you'd want to know about the origins of religions. A fascinating book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    This book addresses many of the things that I have been thinking about lately. I would recommend it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kachina

    Short and interesting. Well researched, and thought provoking.

  19. 4 out of 5

    BethK

    This book has an interesting point of view. It explains just HOW religions developed from the needs for security in early man who had no information. He explains how these develop and are propagated, through conquering people, how superstitions form and how they may become anthropomorphised, and eventually may become a god. And, how that deity can perhaps take over more areas. He explains how ritual came to have meaning, through coincidence, that coincidence recurring, and the psychological theori This book has an interesting point of view. It explains just HOW religions developed from the needs for security in early man who had no information. He explains how these develop and are propagated, through conquering people, how superstitions form and how they may become anthropomorphised, and eventually may become a god. And, how that deity can perhaps take over more areas. He explains how ritual came to have meaning, through coincidence, that coincidence recurring, and the psychological theories of operant conditioning, especially those through intermittent rewards. That also goes on to explain why religious beliefs are difficult to extinguish, even in light of something seemingly disastrous to the cult or religion like a specific prophecy which failed. Then, paradoxically, how this can reinforce belief in the cult or religion. There was a plausible explanation on how animals get to be associated with certain types of things, all through coincidence. And, how these animal representations seem to be more human than animal-like. It also explains just why it is that in places and times when things seem to be the least fair, religion pops up with the notion of an afterlife to ensure that bad behavior will be punished and good behavior will be rewarded, even though the opposite may seem true in their society. Also, why it is that the most unjust, as well as the least educated societies and people within those societies are the most religious, while more educated people living in egalitarian societies are the least religious - simply put, they don't need the addition of the deity to reward or punish. If some things are not punished, he explains why that is in a worshiper's mind: He has been forgiven. The deity didn't notice (getting away with sin by hiding it), that the punishment will become later. Sometimes, the punishment is taken out on someone or something unrelated - the concept of scapegoating or sacrifice. This was an interesting book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Smith

    It has long seemed to me to be a central question whenever we discuss religion and their central beliefs: were we created in the image of whichever god we worship, OR was that god actually a deity that was formed by us, in our image? Drake takes a look at this question in psychological terms as a thesis for how most religions formed. It is a simple approach that is neat in its simplicity. He does a good job of explaining how we might form beliefs and ascribe seemingly random and unconnected event It has long seemed to me to be a central question whenever we discuss religion and their central beliefs: were we created in the image of whichever god we worship, OR was that god actually a deity that was formed by us, in our image? Drake takes a look at this question in psychological terms as a thesis for how most religions formed. It is a simple approach that is neat in its simplicity. He does a good job of explaining how we might form beliefs and ascribe seemingly random and unconnected events to particular things and ultimately to the often capricious whiles of a fickle deity, such as the weather, harvests etc. It all sounds completely logical and he goes on to explain how matters such as morality come about, and how beliefs tend to evolve but also how they become set and very difficult to shake. This is all done via explanations of psychological devices and theories such as cognitive dissonance and how we tend to give added weight to things that seem to confirm our beliefs and ignore things that don't. I like the fact that this book provides an explanation of religions in general and is not an attack on a particular religion or indeed religions in general but is just a common sense approach to how they came about.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Parth Pooniwala

    4.5 stars. It's an excellent book, with thought-provoking experiments and conjectures/ideas. The first few chapters concerning (possible) origins of rituals, deity, soul, and afterlife (The 4 cornerstones of any religion), backed with experiments and scientific studies (done by various people over decades) are stimulating and fascinating. Last couple of chapters of book deal with morality (is it inherent, or adapted?) and origin on life. These chapters too provide with plenty of food for thought. Th 4.5 stars. It's an excellent book, with thought-provoking experiments and conjectures/ideas. The first few chapters concerning (possible) origins of rituals, deity, soul, and afterlife (The 4 cornerstones of any religion), backed with experiments and scientific studies (done by various people over decades) are stimulating and fascinating. Last couple of chapters of book deal with morality (is it inherent, or adapted?) and origin on life. These chapters too provide with plenty of food for thought. The only chapter where this book possibly falls short of expectation is the 6th chapter (Evolution of religion). This seems like a half cooked chapter with multiple ideas and conjectures thrown around (without enough scietific study), and seemed to be left unexplored. If not for this chapter, it'd be a 5 star review. In summary, it's a compelling read for anyone interested in origin of theological aspects of society from a neutral point of view.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mark Abrams

    I found this relatively short book (126 pages) to be an excellent explanation of the psychological reasons why the concept of religion was created. It was not a harsh condemnation of religious belief, but was simply an explanation of why early man found religion to be the easiest way to explain the phenomenon he saw. The book was very interesting and logical, but was, by no means, a quick and easy read; I found this book required some careful reading and time to digest the material. This is not I found this relatively short book (126 pages) to be an excellent explanation of the psychological reasons why the concept of religion was created. It was not a harsh condemnation of religious belief, but was simply an explanation of why early man found religion to be the easiest way to explain the phenomenon he saw. The book was very interesting and logical, but was, by no means, a quick and easy read; I found this book required some careful reading and time to digest the material. This is not to say that this was something to technical for the lay reader, but some background in science, psychology, and philosophy would make the reading easier. I would highly recommend this especially to the more thoughtful and informed readers among us; it was a wonderful read and fully deserving the five stars I rated it!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pankaj Singh

    The Invention of religion is a magnificent work that attempts to explain the origins of religious beliefs. It's quite impressive how Alexander Drake has managed to explain in great detail his theory behind the origin of religion with the backing of tons of scientific studies, all in less than 100 pages. I don't see any point in summarising this book, as it is short enough to be read in one sitting. But if like me, you are inclined to further research all the studies mentioned in this book, this The Invention of religion is a magnificent work that attempts to explain the origins of religious beliefs. It's quite impressive how Alexander Drake has managed to explain in great detail his theory behind the origin of religion with the backing of tons of scientific studies, all in less than 100 pages. I don't see any point in summarising this book, as it is short enough to be read in one sitting. But if like me, you are inclined to further research all the studies mentioned in this book, this could be one long read. Although at times it almost looks like Mr. Drake is trying too hard to explain even the simplest point he is making, the truth is that all he is trying to do is make his point crystal clear. And he does that without emotions or bias. It's only logical, as a certain pointy eared friend of ours would say.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rayaan Chowdhury

    Now this book was insightful. At the core of the book is the age old idea "Man invented religion to explain his surroundings". But what Drake does very well is break that concept down into stages and analyze it layer by layer. At the center of everything is the Man on an Island, a naive, simplistic individual with no past experiences who lives on an island in isolation. Drake then goes onto the explain how ideas like rituals, deities and structured religious beliefs can come to this Man on an Isla Now this book was insightful. At the core of the book is the age old idea "Man invented religion to explain his surroundings". But what Drake does very well is break that concept down into stages and analyze it layer by layer. At the center of everything is the Man on an Island, a naive, simplistic individual with no past experiences who lives on an island in isolation. Drake then goes onto the explain how ideas like rituals, deities and structured religious beliefs can come to this Man on an Island as instinctive responses to the weather, his own lifestyle and the way the human body slowly decomposes after death. There's nothing "conclusive" about the book in any shape or form but at every stage there are several plausible hypotheses which are all pretty interesting. An enjoyable, concise book. Not a bad way to spend a day.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    In this brilliantly concise book, the author demonstrates through psychology and his abstract "Man on an Island" the ways in which the various religions of the world likely began, and how they evolved to their current states. He employs such psychological precepts as operant conditioning, attachment theory, and the belief disconfirmation paradigm to clearly and elegantly arrive at his conclusion that "in the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion." Much unlike popular atheist author In this brilliantly concise book, the author demonstrates through psychology and his abstract "Man on an Island" the ways in which the various religions of the world likely began, and how they evolved to their current states. He employs such psychological precepts as operant conditioning, attachment theory, and the belief disconfirmation paradigm to clearly and elegantly arrive at his conclusion that "in the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion." Much unlike popular atheist authors, Drake's style is subdued and straightforward rather than defensive; he simply presents an incredibly compelling and difficult-to-argue explanation for how religions form.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sudeshna Bora

    My first attempt to read scientific analysis. I am mesmerized by the attempt. Obviously I still have the doubt that it tried to see the entire scenario with a tunnel view. The possibility of confirmation bias also looms in the horizon. But the way the writer created and presented his case , I am completely satisfied. It is not an exhaustive proof.

  27. 5 out of 5

    nameless

    Simple and informative. I like the books dealing with the origins of religions. I believe such approach is the most successful making one realize why their religion is just the result of our ancestor's shallow conclusions. I can't leave my review without "in the absence of knowledge, the human invents a religion". Simple and informative. I like the books dealing with the origins of religions. I believe such approach is the most successful making one realize why their religion is just the result of our ancestor's shallow conclusions. I can't leave my review without "in the absence of knowledge, the human invents a religion".

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roja Immanni

    Fascinating and thought-provoking read. "In the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion" The author has created a concise case to make this point in a well-organized manner by breaking it down into key aspects. Perfect introductory-level book with predefinitions and experimental setups. Fascinating and thought-provoking read. "In the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion" The author has created a concise case to make this point in a well-organized manner by breaking it down into key aspects. Perfect introductory-level book with predefinitions and experimental setups.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    A very engaging read! The author introduces key psychological concepts to the readers in the context of explaining the origin of religion. His approach of the subject matter is unique, well-balanced and non-condescending, which are qualities that seem elusive among books of a similar genre.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paweł

    The book turned out to be much better than I expected and I really liked it. It describes exactly what it claims to describe. It is short and concise. It is written in a simple, easy to read way. It describes many awesome experiments and gives references to support its claims.

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